“Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” -Mark 14:21
This morning God brought to my mind Judas. Maybe because of a conversation I had the other day. I received a text from someone I knew. The person disappeared for a few years from my life. I never knew why. When I did see her, I could see hate come out of her eyes. I tried approaching her several times, even left messages on her phone. No return messages. I went as far as sending messages on messenger. Clearly, you could see they were marked read, with time, and date. But no response.
I couldn’t imagine what happened to be close with someone and then all of a sudden be completely cut off. I took this matter to God. I asked God to please show me what happened. God is a faithful God, not only did He show me what happened, but who was behind it, and why. My instinct was to go and approach the person, and set the record straight. God said, “No! Wait, I will bring her to you, when it’s time.”
It was the longest two years. A few days ago, I was praying and exercising when I received a text message from the person. I read the message and called her immediately. I asked the question, “Please will you tell me what I did to offend you or upset you that you disappeared from my life?" She went on to tell me someone told her I said something about her. That was exactly what God had told me, I asked her who was the person? Of course, I already knew because that was the name God had given me. Since, I hold myself accountable to my board of directors, they knew two years ago what God showed me and were praying for the truth be revealed.
I told my friend, “It’s not true, I never ever said that.” I didn’t know how to defend myself, I was so upset I broke down crying right there on the phone. I was thinking in my mind, “God, how can I defend myself from this lie?” As I was asking God the question, my friend said, “Teresa, please stop and listen to me. It is God who told me to call you. while I was praying, God told me to call you. You are anointed and godly. God already showed me everything. I know you didn’t say it cause God showed me they are lies.” She went on to say, “Not only didn’t you say it, but God showed me why it was done.” What God showed her was exactly what God showed me. My entire board can testify to that, both the past and present board. Everyone knows about it.
After hanging up from her, I went back to praying, I’m not ashamed to admit I cried hysterically for almost an hour. I was grateful to God He vindicated me without me having to defend myself. He showed my friend what He revealed to me 2 years earlier. Most importantly, He brought my friend back to me. Today, God brought to my mind Judas.
“Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Of course, this is talking about Jesus and Judas. The truth is God hates sin and lying is one of those deadly sins. Woe to anyone that lies, and double woe to those who cause division within the body of believers. The truth is we all have Judases in our lives.
The hardest thing to go through is the betrayals of those who called themselves our friends. Judas was one of the disciples, not just a disciple but he was a leader within the twelve. He was so trusted he was the treasurer. He held the money for them, and while holding it, he stole money. Can you even believe that? He lacked nothing. Yet, he stole from God Himself. None of the disciples even noticed it.
Judas finally does the unthinkable. He betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. So little amount, why not ask for more? Please listen carefully to this. The mind of hate is so corrupted and filled with evil. It is consumed with one mission to destroy another person. This kind of mind no longer thinks straight. Evil never has clarity of mind. It is only filled with thoughts of destruction, destroying themselves in the end.
Listen please to Jesus’ final prayer just before Judas betrays Him. There in the upper room, Thursday night, recorded in John 17:12, “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” Did you catch that? Jesus kept the rest of the disciples safe except Judas. So, logically, why not keep Judas safe, too? Jesus knew the heart of Judas; that’s why. Judas had a chance and a choice. He made a destructive one.
You know what gets me? For 3 1/2 years Judas saw unbelievable miracles-crippled, blind, lame, mute, and deaf, healed. He saw people fed, and dead people come to life. He saw raging storms ready to drown them be still, demons cast out, and even a fig tree wither. He saw multitudes follow Jesus and be healed. He watched lives restored. Jesus did so many miracles that if they all were written down there would not be enough libraries to contain them all. How in the world could this happen? A person’s heart and its intent is how this could happen. He was a wolf pretending to be a sheep. The disciples were completely fooled. Today, this still happens to the best of us. Jesus wasn’t fooled. Even up to the last minute, Jesus tried to show Himself to Judas with love. “The one that dips his finger will betray me.” He dipped his finger without batting an eye lash and hurried to carry out the evil in his heart. Foolish man! So many still do that with us. They see us serve God, the hand of God move miraculously in our lives, and the love, compassion, and help we have done and yet betray us with lies.
Jesus said, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil," referring to Judas. John 6: 70-71 this verse should make us stand up and take notice. You want to know all about God’s love, mercy, and compassion? It’s right here! Go no further! Please listen, God chooses everyone, period. Each and everyone living on planet earth is chosen, but we are the only ones who can accept that call. Never forget you are chosen. You must answer yes or no. Judas answered, “No.” It cost him eternity in hell. No second chances for him.
In the end, Judas was filled with remorse. He tried to undo the damage, and they laughed at him. It was too late. Listen carefully please. There’s a huge difference between remorse and forgiveness. He knew what he had done. Sin only leads to destruction. Forgiveness leads to mercy, deliverance, pardoning. In other words it leads to total acquittal. Remorse leads to sorrow, shame, self-reproach, self-accusation, self-condemnation, and a guilty conscience. Do you see the difference between the two? He went and hung himself. God gives life and does not take it in this way. Judas hung himself. I want to point out that Judas did this a day before Jesus’ crucifixion. God never allowed him to see Jesus beaten to a pulp and nailed to a tree. He died without any hope of resurrection. Jesus suffered and died, but He’s alive and filled with glory and spender, not Judas, no hope of resurrection for him ever. Eternity in hell.
Judas paid a huge price, forfeiting his soul for all eternity. God help us. Peter would not even mention his name when talking about him only describing him as the “Evil one.” The rest of the disciples never discussed him. Jesus Himself never tried to reconcile with him nor stop him from his fate. Sometimes we got to let go and let God handle the heart of the people.
What is the good news today? God has chosen everyone to come into His saving knowledge. You and I get to choose how we live our life. We can repent and be forgiven. We can be reconciled to God. We can change and do what is right. We can make amends and we can stop the evil we commit. The choice is completely ours.
I’m so glad God showed my friend what she was told was a lie. I prayed God would reveal truth to her. I didn’t t have to do anything to defend myself. God supernaturally opened her mind to see the truth and know what was behind the evil act. Jesus lost His life based on the lies told by Judas. Betrayal of the worst kind. Granted it needed to happen. God already knew Judas heart was evil, and yet he was given the opportunity to change it. The love of God is so great that Judas was given the opportunity.
Friends, what I’m about to say is going to sting. It will break your heart. Truth always does when we want another outcome. You and I don’t have the power to change anyone. We can’t change hearts of anyone. No amount of love, mercy, compassion, understanding, or whatever. Jesus’ love, mercy, compassion, understanding, miracles, trust, etc, didn’t change Judas’ heart. If my friend didn’t have a heart of love for God she never would have called me. She would have died with bitterness, hatred, and unforgiveness towards me totally based on lies coming from a Judas’ heart.
I’m so glad God showed Himself powerful in her life and reminding me He always has my back. He had yours, too. Let God deal with the Judas’ in your life. Do no one any harm. We see the outcome of the godly in this passage. And please do yourself a favor. Ask the person you heard bad things about before you hate them. Could it be even your best of friends is lying to you?
Dr. Teresa Allissa Citro
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I come before You acknowledging You are Sovereign. Father, keep me from sin and help me to stay on the Narrow Road that I might not stray away from You. Give me a heart that is pliable and moldable, a heart and mind steadfast on You and Your ways. Give me discernment to know right from wrong and discernment to know truth from lies. Give me the wisdom I need in order to exercise discretion, and give me the knowledge I need to apply discretion to my life. Fill me with understanding and common sense to always obey Your laws and commands. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles